The Irrationality of Rational Beings

Elio Delgado Legon

Foto: niu.edu
Foto: niu.edu

HAVANA TIMES — For as long as I can remember, I have heard say that human beings are the only rational beings on the planet. Every day, however, I become more and more convinced that the rationality of human beings is something highly relative, as I do not know of a single so-called irrational species that deliberately destroys its habitat (on the contrary, the self-preservation instinct drives all species to do anything in their power to preserve their living conditions, to reproduce and to care for their kin).

Since capitalism emerged as a mode of production superior to feudalism, however, human beings are only concerned with making profits at all costs, even if that means destroying the living conditions of the species.

The ozone layer that envelops the Earth and protects it from the harmful effects of ultraviolet light is being constantly attacked by ozone-depleting gases and, even though many people of good will are concerned about this, particularly scientists, the world’s leading capitalists do not have the will to revert the situation, for, changing the technology that employs ozone-depleting gases would involve additional spending that would reduce their profits.

The egotistical nature of capitalism prevents them from thinking about what could happen in the future. They are only interested in big profits today and do not care about the risks humanity will face in the future.

The same thing happens with greenhouse gases which are making the atmosphere hotter than normal and lead climactic and meteorological phenomena that become more intense every day. Capitalists, however, refuse to make the investments needed to reduce the emission of these gases into the atmosphere.

Climate change has been affecting us for a number of years now and, according to scientists, many island states will disappear under the ocean due polar ice-cap melting and the rest of the world will have to take up the inhabitants of those countries. Today’s capitalists, however, do not take measures to prevent this catastrophe, because that would involve spending a lot of money. They don’t care about what could happen to the planet tomorrow.

The same is true of wars, which are always unnecessary and whose one finality is to secure control over land and take hold of natural resources that are today in the hands of other countries. It doesn’t matter if impoverished uranium can cause millions of people – and even soldiers – cancer, the profits that the industrial military complex generate justify everything.

Many people of good will are worried about what could happen if a nuclear war broke out, for only a small number of the nuclear weapons that are today ready for use could destroy all life on the planet. The war-mongering policies of NATO and the United States, today trying to fence in Russia and China, could take us to a point of no return.

Cuba, a small, poor and underdeveloped country that is also blockaded by the most powerful country in the world, has taken important steps to replace equipment that make use of ozone-depleting gases. As a first step, it substituted all domestic refrigeration appliances in the country with more modern ones that use other types of gases. Work is also being done to replace industrial refrigeration and air-conditioning units, with the same aim.

Cuba is taking all steps within its economic possibilities to change over its energy-producing infrastructure to cleaner systems that do not use greenhouse gases to generate electricity, such as wind farms, photovoltaic panels and small hydroelectric plants, wherever these can be built. In addition, large furnaces and turbogenerators are being installed in sugar refineries to produce electricity from cane biomass. All of these steps, coupled with the construction of bio-digestors wherever conditions allow for this, are aimed at producing biogas, save on electricity and even produce it, result in the reduction of emission of greenhouse gases and ozone-depleting substances into the atmosphere by millions of tons. That is how all rational human beings should act, if they are at all interested in saving the planet (even if that means a slightly smaller bank account).

Elio Delgado Legon

Elio Delgado-Legon: I am a Cuban who has lived for 80 years, therefore I know full well how life was before the revolution, having experienced it directly and indirectly. As a result, it hurts me to read so many aspersions cast upon a government that fights tooth and nail to provide us a better life. If it hasn’t fully been able to do so, this is because of the many obstacles that have been put in its way.


11 thoughts on “The Irrationality of Rational Beings

  • October 6, 2014 at 9:50 pm
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    Very easy to call someone “full of it” when disagreeing….also somewhat “classless”….I personally would call anyone “full of it”……kind of meaningless…..full of what?

  • October 6, 2014 at 9:08 am
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    So 3 of us are “full of it”….hmmm

  • October 5, 2014 at 1:32 pm
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    Alternatives to capitalism????
    Name other economical system different to capitalism if you can please.

  • October 4, 2014 at 12:00 pm
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    Elio blames capitalism, not me. What is happening to the planet is everyone’s fault. Does that mean we agree?

  • October 4, 2014 at 11:58 am
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    That’s not true. Read more of my comments. Well wait….I never agree with regime mouthpiece Elio and he IS full of it. Now, I don’t agree with you and I think you are full of it too. You may be on to something….

  • October 3, 2014 at 11:33 pm
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    Come on Moses…..anyone you don’t agree with is “full of it”………look in the mirror

  • October 3, 2014 at 11:22 pm
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    OF COURSE Capitalism is not “only” to blame…that’s “silly”….everyone is to blame….so stop “blowing smoke”

  • October 3, 2014 at 11:19 pm
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    Just another brainwashed Alberta CONservative…..CAPITALISM is the ONLY way in good oil Alberta….there are alternatives my friend

  • October 3, 2014 at 6:48 pm
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    You are absolutely correct Moses. I see with interest and a degree of amusement, that he regards capitalism as replacing feudalism. As a Cuban he knows nothing of the former and has lived his life under an equivalent of the latter.
    Communist China is the world’s largest emitter of ozone depleting gases.
    He is totally incorrect about nobody addressing the environmental problem. As you will know, Alberta serves as a whipping boy for the green lobby because of the oil sands – currently said to be the third largest oil reserves in the world behind Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. The Alberta Government plans to close down every coal driven electricity plant in the province within fifteen years and they actually are bigger emiters than the oil sands.
    We in Alberta suffer a lot of criticism about pipelines. But how do the protesters suggest that oil should be moved? In tankers by road? In tankers by rail? In each case the risks to life and for pollution are greater.
    As far as Cuba’s pollution is concerned, I took a photograph last year of the most incredible billowing of dense black smoke pouring up into the sky from the oil facility at Matanzas.
    As usual Elio has got it wrong!

  • October 3, 2014 at 4:43 pm
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    The communist party was well more irresponsible when it comes to the protection of the environment. They never cared about green house gasses,

    All their trucks and cars used twice the amount of petrol than the Europeans and the smoke coming out from their trucks was visible 100 meters away. The mass production was reckless and all their equipment and plants had a very limited design life. A Russian agricultural tractor for example needed repairs after 3 months! and was ready for destruction after 2 years, …unsustainable!!!!

    One of the biggest environmental disasters in history was organised and planned by the communists in Russia the destruction of the Aral Sea, the 4th biggest lake in the planet reduced to nothing!!! Visible from space.

    The catastrophe of Chernobyl kept in secret.

    A communist politician working together with a communist engineer and a communist planner will definitely be a killer combination for the environment.

    In my personal experience as a professional I never felt that Cuban professionals cared about the environment, was definitely not a topic of conversation and almost a taboo if a cost was associated with it. It was shocking for me to learn, just when I left Cuba, how much one have to take into consideration to protect the environment and actually how much money is invested to protect it.

  • October 3, 2014 at 1:42 pm
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    Elio is at his usual full of it. Has he seen the carbon-monoxide spewing smokers that make up the majority of private taxis in Cuba? The “maquinas” are the worst example of carbon footprint on the planet. The electricity generation plants in Cuba are from the 1930’s. The smoke that billows from these plants look like something out of a bad sci-fi flic. Blaming Climate Change on capitalism is like blaming messy diapers on babies. Anyway, let’s take a look at the socialist actors in the world today. China, North Korea, and Cuba are the poster kids for Global Warming. If I were Elio, this is one subject I would keep to myself.

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